Tazara Dar Kapiri Mposhi
Ordinary train departs on Tuesdays and the new Express train departs on Fridays, there is no Thursday services no more.
1st Class Seats cost $100.-USD per seat/berth, this has a sleeping bunk in it, 4 of them per cabin, usually each cabin has just males or females in it, it is common for people to book the entire cabin.
The Tanzania & Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) runs trains between Kapiri Mposhi, Mbeya and Dar es Salaam, taking two nights. The trains have sleeping-cars and a restaurant car, and the journey is a great adventure, see the travellers’ reports below. The line is 1,860km long and was only opened in 1976, built with Chinese funding and assistance.
The timetable below came into force from 16 February 2016. The Zambian Mukuba now permanently operates the express service, the Tanzanian Kilimanjaro now always operates the ordinary train, previously the two trainsets alternated on both services, so you never knew which set you’d get.
Dar es Salaam ► Mbeya ► Kapiri Mposhi
1S, 2S, 2, 3, M or R
1S, 2S, 2, 3, R
|0||Dar es Salaam||depart||15:50 Friday||13:50 Tuesday|
|1852||Kapiri Mposhi (New)||arrive||09:26* Sunday||13:37 Thursday|
1S = 1st class 4-berth sleepers;
2S = 2nd class 6-berth sleepers; 2 = 2nd class seats;
3 = 3rd class seats;
M = meal at seat service;
R = Restaurant car.
The Mukuba Express (= copper in the Bemba language) is Zambian and now uses new Chinese-built cars delivered in 2016.
The Kilimanjaro is Tanzanian, and uses older cars.
Each train typically consists of 3 x 1st class sleepers, 3 x 2nd class sleepers, 3 x 3rd class seats cars, a 2nd class seats car, two restaurant cars, a 1st class lounge car and a couple of baggage vans.
Tickets have to be booked in advance and we can supply tickets either way from Dar es Salaam to Kapiri Mposhi just outside Lusaka or the other way around from Zambia Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam.
Please be warned, the train is notoriously unreliable especially from south to north and can be 15 hours late getting into its destination. It is a two day journey in any case, through the Selous National Reserve and we recommend you have enough time on your hands when deciding to use this form of transportation.
TAZARA covers a distance of 1,860km between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi stations, negotiating its way through many amazing topographic features and monuments, including game parks, thick jungles, mountains and steep valleys.
From what I hear quite a few construction workers including the Chinese got eaten by lions during construction.
From a low altitude of 14.06m above sea level at Kurasini Station, the line rises steeply to 500m at Mlimba and further up to a peak of 1789.43m at Uyole Station (the highest point of TAZARA) in Mbeya before cascading down to 1660m above sea level at Mwenzo (the highest point in Zambia) and runs at a relatively steady level up to New Kapiri-Mposhi where it settles at 1274.63m above sea level.
Mandated to provide the most efficient, effective and reliable mode of transport in the two partner states, TAZARA runs three types of passenger trains, i.e. Express, Ordinary and Special Trains.
Apart from conveying people, passenger trains also transport parcels and luggage using the parcel vans attached to the passenger trains.
Each parcel van can carry up to 15.7 metric tons of parcels and, depending on the demand, one or more vans can be attached to the train at a time.
Attached to each train are dining cars in which professional caterers serve international cuisines at very reasonable prices.
TAZARA operates one pair of cross-border express passenger trains every Tuesday between Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and New Kapiri-Mposhi in Zambia, and vice-versa.
The express trains are known as the Kilimanjaro Express and Mukuba Express. It takes approximately 46 hours to travel between Dar es Salaam and New Kapiri Mposhi.
Passengers have the rare treat of viewing a variety of game along the way.
When traversing the mountainsides, passing though the tunnels, crossing rivers and gorges, passengers have a chance to appreciate the awesome and inspirational engineering works of the Chinese, who constructed the railway between 1970 and 1975. Express trains are recommended for international travelers.
A pair of Ordinary Passenger Trains, on the other hand, runs in each direction every Friday.
The ordinary trains stop at every serviceable railway station in the respective regions of Tanzania and Zambia.
On 29th October 2012, TAZARA introduced Commuter Train Services in Tanzania’s port city of Dar es Salaam, covering a distance of 30km from Dar es Salaam main station to Mwakanga, on the outskirts of the city.
The Commuter Train Service was introduced at the request of the Tanzanian government, keen to ease the transport challenges in the city, especially during peak hours.
The government financed the initial costs of refurbishing the dilapidated coaches and locomotives to put them back into service having been discarded for years.
The Commuter Trains utilize TAZARA’s main track, transporting some 9,000 passengers every day, except weekends and public holidays when the service is not available.